Jan 23, 2017

Review: Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon

Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon by Torben Kuhlmann
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon by Torben Kuhlmann was a beautifully illustrated children's book that will be great for children as an introduction to space travel, or just a fun story featuring a cleaver and determined mouse who would not give up on his dreams. The book, with the amazing illustrations, will be great read to a group of children by an adult, or read independently for children who have been reading on their own for a while.

I am well past childhood, but I was completely sucked in by the beautiful illustrations. Many children love learning about space travel and this book with the combination of space and a great little mouse character is completely captivating. There is also factual information about human space travel at the end of the book.

I love that the clever little mouse is determined to follow through with his dreams even though his peers do not offer him any support, just as many humans throughout history done. The best way for children to learn is often through a creative story that they truly enjoy. I was given this book free for the purpose of providing an honest review.


A long time ago a mouse learned to fly . . . and crossed the Atlantic. But what happened next? Torben Kuhlmann's stunning new book transports readers to the moon and beyond! On the heels of Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse comes Armstrong: A Mouse on the Moon where dreams are determined only by the size of your imagination and the biggest innovators are the smallest of all. The book ends with a brief non-fiction history of human space travel from Galileo's observations concerning the nature of the universe to man's first steps on the moon."

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Jan 22, 2017

Review: Personal Recollections of Vincent Van Gogh

Personal Recollections of Vincent Van Gogh Personal Recollections of Vincent Van Gogh by Elisabeth Huberta Du Quesne-van Gogh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved Personal Recollections of Vincent Van Gogh by Elisabeth Huberta Du Quesna-Van Gogh so much that I have already read it two times. I have been a fan of Van Gogh and was required to study him in college, as an art student. I was lucky enough to see many of his original pieces that were displayed at galleries across the USA a few years ago. I became interested in why he chose to paint differently than the other artists of his time.

This book goes more into who Van Gogh was as a person and discussed his personal experiences that influenced his artwork. There is little talk if line quality, nor color, but more talk about who Van Gogh was as a person, which I find most interesting. His travels and the poor people he met along the way had a huge effect on him and therefore on his artwork.

This book is a good read about Vincent as a person and how he translated his feelings for the poor and unfortunate people he lived with and among during his many travels. I love his artwork, but anyone who also wants a glimpse at Vincent Van Gogh as a person and to understand him, who he was, and how that came across in his work, should definitely read this book. I received this book free for the purpose of providing an honest review.

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Jan 19, 2017

Review: Don't You Cry

Don't You Cry Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Official book description is posted after the review.

REVIEW by Aunt Meanie:

Don't You Cry. By: Mary Kubica. *****
Esther and Quinn
Something was bad wrong. I knew it when Esther, my roommate, didn’t turn off her alarm clock on the freezing cold pre-dawn Sunday morning. I discover her room empty, the window leading onto the fire escape wide open letting the cold air blow in.
Esther has disappeared. After 2 days of waiting and worrying Quinn began searching Esther's room for any clue to where she has gone or why. The things Quinn finds leaves her more confused and very frightened. Letters to “My Darling” that are signed EV (Esther Vaughn). Then Esther’s cell phone rings, a mysterious man on the other end. A text message that is truly frightening, “Paybacks a Bitch”.
It seems like there's a lot about Esther that Quinn doesn't know.

Alex and “Pearl”
Alex first saw her in the cafĂ© where he works. A beautiful stranger, quiet and mysterious. She comes everyday, sits for hours looking out the window at the house across the street. She doesn't tell Alex her name so he calls her “Pearl” because of the small pearl bracelet she wears.
A few nights later Alex discovers “Pearl” staying in the abandoned house across the street from his. Everyone says the house is haunted by a 5 year old girl named Genevieve who died over 20 years ago.
Alex tries to befriend “Pearl”, but she’s starting to seem really weird and creepy. She wants to see the grave of 5 year old Genevieve. Once there she lies on top of the grave and sings a lullaby. The creepiness doesn’t end there.

This book keeps you in suspense from start to finish! You can’t put the book down…. One more page, one more page… you have to know…
What happened to Esther?
Does Esther want to kill her roommate Quinn?
What does Alex discover about “Pearl”?
And last, but not least, what about the ghost of 5 year old Genevieve?
I love how the book has 2 parallel stories, each with their own set of fully developed characters. Somehow throughout the twists and turns they are joined together for an ending I didn’t see coming.
*Note to readers: Don’t skip ahead! You’ll miss a “twist” and belief me, you need to know all the twists and turns to get the full understanding and creepiness of this book.

Did I mention the book was mysterious, dark and creepy?


New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica returns with an electrifying and addictive tale of deceit and obsession

In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she's the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.

As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under Pearl's spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.

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Jan 18, 2017

Review: Baby Doll

Baby Doll Baby Doll by Hollie Overton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book description after review.

REVIEW by Aunt Meanie

aby Doll ***** Review 1- 15-2017/tcg
By Hollie Overton

This book was non-stop awesome. From the first sentence, it had me hooked and I couldn’t put the book down. I stayed up all night and finished the book at 8 AM the next morning. Yes, it was that good.

The story embraces all the human emotions; joy, love, hate, fear, confusion, despair, hope, and the ever binding “twin-ship”.

“Escape was just the beginning”. Doesn’t sound like much as a sentence. Until you read the story. Then it becomes such a powerful, all encompassing sentence. It means so much more than it seems. There is a lifetime in that one sentence.

Abby and Lily are identical twins and their lives reflect all that being a twin involves. 1 set of shared DNA, 1 egg that decided to split into 2. The bond of a twin is almost like 1 soul that occupies 2 bodies.

When Lily is kidnapped at age 16, twin Abby's life falls apart. Abby is completely lost without her other half. Life isn’t the same, can never be the same and at times Abby thought life was not worth living. Abby spirals through depression, alcohol, drugs and attempted suicide.

Lily, kidnapped at age 16, held hostage, repeatedly beaten, raped and tortured for 8 years. Her kidnapper thinks he has broken her spirit, thinks he has created his perfect “Baby Doll”. He is mistaken. So badly mistaken.
Lily's escape, after 8 years…… is just the beginning.
The story takes the reader through the experience of a family united. A twin come home. All the hope, dreams, confusion, complications and the ever present fear that it will never really “end”.
I loved the book and recommend it to anyone over age 16.

I received this book free to provide an honest review.


For fans of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train, Baby Doll is the most tense thriller you will read this year.

Held captive for eight years, Lily has grown from a teenager to an adult in a small basement prison. Her daughter Sky has been a captive her whole life. But one day their captor leaves the deadbolt unlocked.

This is what happens next...

...to her twin sister, to her mother, to her daughter...and to her captor.

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Dec 15, 2016

Review: Alice and the Fly

Alice and the Fly Alice and the Fly by James Rice
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

REVIEW by Aunt Meanie
Book description is after the review.

Alice and The Fly. By: James Rice
I fear THEM. If I see one of THEM it causes me such terror that I have fits where my whole body
shakes, trembles, and I am compelled to run to get away from THEM. I seem to have always had this
phobia. My condition may have been caused by some traumatic incident in my past that I keep
hidden deep inside my mind. That’s just one of my teachers theories.

The main character, Greg, is an extremely shy, socially awkward teenage boy who doesn’t speak…. To anyone. He is bullied at school all the time. Even though he attempts to stay emotionally distant
From the acts of bullying, the hurt and emotional scars caused to him remain painfully obvious to the reader.

The story is written in the form of a diary that Greg writes to a girl named Alice. Greg is obsessed with Alice, a girl from his school, yet he never “really” gets to know her. His friendship and developing love for Alice is only a reality in his delusions.

Greg shows us “his” world, through his eyes and his life experiences. It is sometimes difficult to comprehend what is actually happening in real life because Greg's view is a bit distorted.
Greg shows us that for people with mental illness, life can be cold, harsh, emotionally lonely, frightening and often cruel. Most of the people he encounters daily have no knowledge or understanding of mental illness and very few offer friendship, much less compassion. Even his parents fail at providing the care he needed.

I realized the book was about schizophrenia about half way through. Many parts of the book, unfortunately, are probably very accurate in the way that people with schizophrenia are treated. The book leaves me sad that his parents were too concerned with their appearance of being a well to do “normal” family and Greg's mental illness was hidden and his medical (psychiatric) care was neglected.

I guess the Greg's parents acknowledging and accepting responsibility to provide Greg with proper
psychiatric care is the closest thing to a “happy ending” that is possible.

Reviewed by: AUNT MEANIE


Greg is cripplingly shy, afraid of spiders, and obsessed with Breakfast at Tiffany's. He's not exactly the most popular kid at his high school. In fact, he pretty much goes out of his way to avoid talking to anybody he doesn't have to. And it doesn't help that he has a severe lisp.

But Greg's English teacher, Miss Hayes, can see that there's something different about him. He's insightful and sensitive beyond his years, and maybe--just maybe--he'll use these strengths to break out of his shell someday. Miss Hayes urges Greg to keep a journal. "This isn't an assignment," she tells him, "just write down your thoughts."

Greg begins to write about everything from his mother's ill-conceived interior decorating ideas to his job at the local butcher's shop. When Greg begins to take an interest in a girl at his school named Alice, he realizes that he will have to face his most paralyzing anxieties if he wants to befriend Alice and help her escape from her violent family life.

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Dec 10, 2016

Review: Scouts of the Apocalypse: Zombie Plague

Scouts of the Apocalypse: Zombie Plague Scouts of the Apocalypse: Zombie Plague by Michell Plested
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I was very excited to receive Scouts of the Apocalypse: Zombie Plague by Michell Plested because I have come to enjoy some zombie books, my husband and I are scout leaders, and my son is a Boy Scout after 4.5 years of Cub Scouts. We are a scouting family and I appreciate a book related to something we love to spend our family time together participating in.

First off, as a graphic designer and illustrator with major interest in book cover design, I cringe when I look at the cover. It truly hurts me to see a good book look so unprofessional because of cover art and typography. If the book had not been about scouts I would never have read it, and definitely would not buy it because sadly an unprofessional looking cover many times also means unprofessional writing. I was pleasantly surprised about the writing though.

The actual story was far better than I expected based on the cover. I enjoyed the fact that someone put so much time into a story that honors the dedication of volunteers and scouts. I liked the basic idea of the boys camping, but then coming back to the disaster of a zombie infested real world. After some campo its with our own scouts I can see how that might play out. I also love that the story began as campfire stories told by a leader. I know some boys that would love that. I did find it different that they didn't see more indication of disaster - zombies as they traveled along the way back into civilization. I enjoyed the story, loved the references to real scouting principles, and I love that there is no vulgarity, etc. The book is perfectly acceptable for my son and his scout friends to read.

To me the story ended a little awkwardly, and all volunteer names starting with "scouter" got too repetitive, but I agree with the need to possibly address the boys as "scout" so the reader knows whether it is an adult or a scout who is being addressed. That is a bit repetitive too though ... I don't know about that, but it's definitely something to think about.

Great job of coming up with a story that is interesting for both adults and children. I think with a little help this book could really make a splash with the scouting community. Please get help with that cover. I passed up the book several times because of it as many others will. Books really are initially judged by their cover.

I received Scouts of the Apocalypse: Zombie Plague by Michell Plested free of charge, in order to provide an honest review.


Being a Scout is more than just helping old ladies cross the road. Scouts have a responsibility to their communities and the greater world around them. Part of that responsibility is training and being prepared for disasters. When a Scout troop comes home from a weekend of survival training in the deep woods, they find that nothing about the world they left is the same. Shambling hordes of undead wander the countryside killing anything that lives. Can the Scouts survive the trip home and is there even a home to return to? It will take all of their training and smarts to overcome this disaster.

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Book Tour & GIVEAWAY ~ The Destiny Trilogy Book by Hyeela Lyn

The Destiny Trilogy Book 1
by Hywela Lyn
Genre: Scifi Romance

When Jestine Darnell is rescued from her sabotaged starship by the crew of the Destiny her only objective is to complete her mission and keep her promise to save a world from slavery. Love is the last thing on her mind. However, she has not counted on losing her heart to Kerry Marchant the ship’s second in command, who makes his distrust of her painfully obvious, despite the chemistry between them. The completion of her mission has consequences that neither of them could have foreseen. Enter Dahll Tarron, who becomes involved in a long and dangerous quest to find the Destiny. Fates become intertwined, perils shared, culminating in the realization that sometimes love may be so close that there is a danger it will not be recognized until it is too late…

Children Of The Mist
The Destiny Trilogy Book 2

Two minds united against a common foe. Two hearts afraid to show their love:
Long ago Tamarith fell in love with a man she can never have, and is convinced she will never love another. However, she cannot help but be intrigued by a handsome stranger whose psychic powers exceed even her own.
Vidarh seeks only to find his true purpose in life and to win the regard of his father, who eschews his son’s psychic abilities. Thrown together by a common threat to their planet, then torn apart by an evil greater than any they could have imagined, can Vidarh save the lovely Nifl woman who has captivated him, before it is too late?
Will Tamarith and Vidarh overcome the deadly enemy who threatens to destroy all they know and love? Will they find the happiness they both seek? Or are they fated to live their lives alone?

Beloved Enemy
The Destiny Trilogy Book 3

Cat Kincaid is obsessed with killing the man she believes is responsible for the torture and death of her sister, but when she eventually catches up with him, survival becomes a greater priority than revenge. Kerry Marchant, haunted by memories, regret, and self-blame, shields himself from the pain of the past by committing himself totally to the starship, Destiny, of which he is part owner. However, the beautiful, red-haired woman who reminds him of his lost love, and who he suspects is working for a corrupt regime, represents a possible threat not only to the ship, but to his heart. Marooned on an inhospitable planet, they need to work together to stay alive, fighting not only unknown assailants, but their growing attraction. But how can they learn to trust each other when he has vowed never to get close to a woman again, and she made a solemn pledge to destroy him?

Hywela Lyn spent most of her life in Wales and the beautiful countryside and legends inspired her to write. Although she now lives in a small village in England, she is very proud of her Welsh heritage and background. Her pen name is a combination of her first two names. 'Hywela' is Welsh and her first name but it was never used and she has always been called by her second Christian name, Lyn.
She enjoys weaving romantic tales of the future, and distant, mysterious worlds, stories she hopes will truly take you 'out of this world'and beyond.
She is crazy about all animals, especially horses. She lives with her long suffering husband, Dave, and has an animal family of two horses, a 'feral' stable cat and an adopted terrier called Choccy.
Hywela Lyn's first novel, 'Starquest', a futuristic romance, and a sequel, to 'Starquest', 'Children of the Mist' and 'Beloved Enemy are available in print or Kindle version. They can each be read as a 'stand alone' although together they form the 'Destiny Trilogy.'
Her fantasy novella 'Dancing With Fate' is also available now as an E-book from Smashwords, Kindle, and in print.
She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association (UK) and Chiltern Writers.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Blogspot * Wild Rose Press * Amazon * Goodreads

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Dec 4, 2016

Review: If The Creek Don't Rise: A Novel

If The Creek Don't  Rise: A Novel If The Creek Don't Rise: A Novel by Leah Weiss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(description below)

I absolutely loved this book. I finished it in a few days anxious to see what would happen next. I loved the array or colorful characters, and that the story was told by several allowing me to get a glimpse of what was going on in their head. Inside some of the character's mind was a pretty crazy and entertaining place to be.

At first I wasn't as into the poor mountain girl messed up and got with an abusive jerk, but as new characters emerged telling about their life and experiences on the mountain I couldn't stop reading. Even the horrible characters shed light on the environment and situations.

Awesome read with an abundance of "mountain people" terminology ... Believable characters (and oh what a character some of the characters are). Heart touching in places, funny, sad, and funny again. I love the ending and did not expect the turn it took.

There was a section of book club / discussion type questions at the end that really would make some great conversation topics. I received this book free for the purpose of providing an honest review.


Book description:

A strikingly sincere portrait of a town and its buried secrets from an outstanding new voice in southern fiction.

In a North Carolina mountain town filled with moonshine and rotten husbands, Sadie Blue is only the latest girl to face a dead-end future at the mercy of a dangerous drunk. She’s been married to Roy Tupkin for fifteen days, and she knows now that she should have listened to the folks who said he was trouble. But when a stranger sweeps in and knocks the world off-kilter for everyone in town, Sadie begins to think there might be more to life than being Roy’s wife.

As stark and magnificent as Appalachia itself, If the Creek Don’t Rise is a bold and beautifully layered debut about a dusty, desperate town finding the inner strength it needs to outrun its demons. The folks of Baines Creek will take you deep into the mountains with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.

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